You Got Questions?
1. How long is the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail? As is the case with most long trails, the distance of the Sheltowee can change each year. In January of each year, after a discussion with our map makers and the land managers, we set the mileage based on trail reroutes and adjustments from the previous year. As of January 1st 2017, the total miles is 323.
2. Which direction should I thru-hike and how long should it take? Most start in the North and head south. This enables you to take advantage of the trail towns that are closer together in the North and to limit the amount of food you have to carry in the early days of your hike. How long should it take for me to finish the Trace? How long is relative to your individual abilities. The average is 25 days but the Trace can be done in 21. We encourage you to not make a race of it and take a month to complete your end to end.
3. Where can I resupply with food? Click here to download our suggestions for resupply.
4. Where can I camp? The Daniel Boone is an open forest. You can camp off the Trace 300 feet from the trail. There are existing sites along the Trace that we recommend you go ahead and use to limit the environmental impact on the Trace. The Trace goes through or near several campgrounds (Natural Bridge, Turkeyfoot, S-Tree, Alumn Ford, Great Meadows), some free some a fee. Check the trail guide for details on locations. Please do not camp under rock houses, or cliff lines unless it is an emergency situation like a thunderstorm. Practice "LEAVE NO TRACE" please and pack out what you bring in. Build fires only when authorized and use fire rings.
5. Can we build a fire? Yes and No. Check with the landmanagers or the STA Facebook page and this webpage for any change to the fire status. During the high risk time for forest fires, there may be restrictions placed on fire building. Please follow the guidance.
6. What about the availability of water? First, treat all water. Filter your water for your sake. There are many streams and creeks along the length of the Trace. As you plan your trip, check with online weather sources for current and projected conditions. Visit the STA webpage and Facebook pages for updates on drought conditions and or flood conditions. You will get your feet wet so bring camp shoes that can double as water shoes or just go barefoot across the many streams.
7. What about other users? The Trace is a multiuse trail in several locations. In the Cave Run areas, you will be hiking on trails that are shared with mountain bike users and horse trail riding users. In the Turkeyfoot to S-Tree area the Trace is shared between hikers and ATV's / dirt bikes. In the Big South Fork you will be on the Trace where parts are shared with Mountain Bikes and on other sections where you backpack with horse trail riders.
8. What do the trail towns provide? We have 5 towns on or near the Trace that have been designated by the Tourism Office of the State of Kentucky as trail towns. Each town has a variety of current services for users and most are looking to develop additional services for users. Each town has someone who can shuttle you into town to a local hotel, restaurant, or to receive medical attention. Current Trace trail towns are: Morehead, McKee, Livingston, London, and Stearns.
9. What about cell service? The best service at this moment is with Verizon. Expect to be able to communicate and post to social media when near towns and up on the hillsides. The Trace runs along several cliff lines near rivers and streams where service is limited.
10. Has anyone biked the entire trail? No. The Trace is not open to biking or horseback riding over the entire designated trail corridor. You will need to leave the Trace and use local roads to route yourself around and back to the legal sections of the Trace.
Maps and Guidebook Information
The STA, working with our local suppliers sells the most current maps and guidebooks to assist you with your planning of a thru hike.
Maps and guidebooks can be purchased from our online store - THE STA TRADING POST. Click HERE to go to the store and place your order. Orders are shipped on Tuesday's and Thursday's of each week.
Expedited orders should be coordinated by phone with the STA Office directly. 606 386 3636.
Mail Drops - Food Resupply
Food resupply is one of the most often asked questions? While we recommended and suggest these options, while we attempt to confirm the details (address, food box acceptance etc.), we are not responsible for lost or returned packages. Click HERE to download the Resupply list.